Rosemary Beach is just one direct flight away from Gerald R. Ford International Airport
    Rosemary Beach, Florida. Photo by Tylee Shay

    Are gray skies getting you down? This is the first in a series of three articles from Tylee Shay on winter escape destinations:

    The holidays are over, the Christmas tree has been taken down, the magic of the season’s first snow has passed, and now you’re ready for a vacation. Us Michiganders get to a point every winter after the excitement and festivities have passed when we just need some sunshine. Nothing is better than a warm, sunny escape in the late winter months to hold us over until spring!

    Luckily for those of us in the greater Grand Rapids area, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) offers several non-stop destinations with endless sunshine. These locations are perfect for either a weekend getaway or a longer stay, and offer warm sunlight in those winter months when we need some vitamin D.

    A few of my personal favorite destinations for a winter escape are just one direct flight away from Grand Rapids. Being a seasoned traveler and pilot’s wife, I frequent each of these destinations in the cold winter months.

    These destinations each have their own unique experience to offer. I’ve added a few suggestions for things to see and do in each location, but each city has so much more to offer. You’ll just have to go and see for yourself!

    Rosemary Beach is a quaint, quiet beach town located in Northern Florida. Most tourists travel to the panhandle of Florida for destinations like Panama City Beach or Seaside, but few know about this hidden gem.

    By taking a direct flight from GRR to the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) via Allegiant Air, you’ll feel as though you crossed the ocean and ended up in a Southern European oasis. Rosemary Beach is an adorable town, with European architecture, boutique shops and fine-dining, as well as the amazing white-sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.

    The entire town is perfectly “bikeable” and walkable. Most accommodations will provide you with bikes for the duration of your stay, or there are several bike rental options such as Peddlers 30A or Bamboo Bicycle Company.

    Rosemary offers coffee shops, brunch spots, fine dining, ice cream parlors and anything else you might need so you can kick back and relax for the duration of your trip. However, venturing over to the neighboring town of Alys Beach is a must.

    Just a 5-minute bike ride or a 15-minute walk down 30A from Rosemary Beach is a stunning luxury oceanfront community. Alys offers its own amazing restaurants, shops, pool clubs, nature trails and events. Simply walking through the cobblestone streets and all-white architecture of Alys is an event in and of itself.

    The perfect day would be spent enjoying coffee and shopping in the square of Rosemary Beach, relaxing by the pool or ocean for the afternoon, then walking over for a nice dinner in Alys.

    If you’re wanting a unique destination, a quiet family-friendly town and a slow-paced beach escape, then Rosemary Beach is the perfect place for you.

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